In honor of our 10-day Countdown to Tip-Off, we are in the middle of counting down the top 10 Thunder games to watch this season. There are only six days left until the start of the regular season, so today we are looking at our #6 game: Tuesday, April 9, 8:30 PM CT at home against the Houston Rockets. This game is the home finale for the Thunder, and it is important for a number of reasons.
First off, the Houston Rockets have turned into a rival of the Oklahoma City Thunder over the last couple of seasons. Former Thunder player James Harden is the reigning MVP, and since his departure for Houston, Thunder fans have felt mixed emotions about the superstar. When you factor in some of the other history involved, like former Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley tearing Russell Westbrook’s meniscus back in the 2013 playoffs, as well as some of the intense matchups over the years, these two teams do not exactly like each other. And who could forget Westbrook’s game-sealing poster on Clint Capela back in November 2016?
Another important factor of this particular matchup is the timing of the game. Considering it is the home finale against a top-tier team, the arena should be packed and full of energy. Not only that, but the playoff implications that this game could end up having will play into how important a win will be.
The Houston Rockets have been the better playoff team the past couple of seasons, the Thunder has played them close in the regular season. Oklahoma City is 3-4 (2-2 at home, 1-2 on the road) against Houston in the regular season the last two seasons, and the thunder won two of three (1-1 at home, 1-0 on the road) last year. The two organizations play four times this year, and none of the games will be as important as the final one will likely be.